Cory McKane 0:00
And we're good to go. Awesome. Well, cheers. Got our 512 here, bam, Salou. So you're a happy girl. You're a badass founder and a startup mentor here in Austin. Let's, let's have you introduce yourself.
Abigail Rose Baez 0:17
Hey, Cory, thank you so much for having me here today, super excited to be on the podcast. Today, I'll introduce myself as a co founder, a creator and artist, a mother, a wife. I'm playing daughter in law over the next few days hosting my in laws. And mostly I am really, really proud of what we've built it blended sense. And I'm really honored to be associated with the people that we get to do it with so
Cory McKane 0:51
well, I'm excited to dive into it because I, I know you vaguely through like just kappa factor network, and then I know you through the startup program, or the mentor program we were a part of, and then I didn't really get to dive into blended sense too much, it's gonna be cool to like dive into this. So let's just kind of get started with that. What is your what is blended sense?
Abigail Rose Baez 1:09
Well, blended sense is a response to what I had been feeling in my own career as an actor. And
Cory McKane 1:15
okay, let's go. Hello, are you an actor? Where did you act and all that. So
Abigail Rose Baez 1:21
I am one of those kids where my parents will take out, you know, the very first video tapes, you know, that people could buy in their homes. And on those tapes, you'll find me dressing up and acting and just being really silly and writing plays, and I got involved in theater. And I'm really grateful to my parents for understanding that this was a passion of mine, and actually helping me pursue it at the professional level at a young age. So I got a taste of that pretty young, and also the confidence and belief that I could do anything I set my mind to if I wanted, I didn't need to go out and find a traditional job. Something that provided security, my parents, my dad runs his own company as well. So always had that sense of like, okay, well, if you have enough fire, and a drive, then you can go make it happen. So I went to theater school in New York High
Cory McKane 2:18
School, Oh, you went to like the place to go.
Abigail Rose Baez 2:20
I did. But you know, it's an interesting part of my story, because I didn't dive headfirst into conservatory or going to I was I was kind of still wanting to be a soccer player and have this college experience. You know, sort of my head work in music school. Yeah. So I chose a college that was liberal arts school where I was a theater major, but then I also, I played Division Three soccer first season, which was like, really, an entire chapter of itself. But long story short, it's called Manhattanville College go valiance
Cory McKane 2:53
got a lot of valued supporters on this show. So that's, that,
Abigail Rose Baez 2:56
you know, I have a lot of feelings about my college experience for all the different reasons a young person might and the things they had to, you know, they go through for growth, but the one thing that school taught me was how to collaborate with people and how to take a really big problem. Break it down and solve it and that's what we do at blended sense. So bring it all the way back. Okay, that's good, right? That's good. I had been acting for quite some time professionally booking a lot of work. You might have seen my face around in ads and
Cory McKane 3:28
it was it was a what what kind of what kind of things are we talking Well,
Abigail Rose Baez 3:30
I first got started down here in commercial work, which I found out is a way to make a like an actual payable living as an actor so your toothpaste commercial, I was literally doctors. And it was on one of these commercials a national commercial my very first one for Asper cream. If you don't know it's a pain relieving cream, which is really ironic. Yeah, my family loved it because we always had this joke that it would be for like preparation age or something. Like it's for aspirin cream.
Cory McKane 4:05
Wait, is that on the YouTube? Can we put that on? I can find it. Yeah. Oh, yeah. I
Abigail Rose Baez 4:09
can throw it on. Yeah, we so there's there's a site I'll share it with you. All commercials are air. It's like YouTube for specifically for commercials. Oh, cool. Yeah, I'll send that your way. I'm a bride. It's it's nothing too crazy. But it was like at that I at that point I had, I've been working significantly, like almost all four seasons booking a lot of great work. I had just booked and shot a 21 day feature film. That's out on Amazon. Very cool. And I would like to give a shout out to Cory here who is producing this one man show. This is the big deal.
Cory McKane 4:47
Well, you know, it's uh, hopefully it will I'm just gonna keep doing this every minute. Okay, you were mentioning you were on a 20 day. You're doing a 20 day 21 Day film on Amazon.
Abigail Rose Baez 4:59
Yeah. I was like hitting my stride, and still really financially unstable, taking other jobs that had nothing to do with my career. I'm looking on Craigslist and Facebook and these other sources that aren't reputable, that don't speak to the years you put in. Yeah, like, what the heck, where's the standard of professionalism here. And there really isn't that in the freelancing industry, because it's such a collage hodgepodge you make what you can make out of this kind of thing. So, coming home to Albert was like, What the heck, I was just on my biggest commercial shoot of my life. And I was late because I couldn't find this frickin parking lot in the email on the call sheet. Where's this thing? Why is this industry so far behind? And we got to talking about just a piece of software that production companies could use to run their productions through. Cool, but you can't really necessarily just start a company around a product, there needs to be a service component. So we started to think about, well, who are the people that need these creative services, who's getting priced out who's really at a disadvantage in this content game. And we discovered through where he was working at the time, he's has a very tenured career in some other startups here around the city. It's what got us down to Texas. And my dad's also a business owner. And so we started talking about the small business owner and how they were all the hats a, you know, everybody's looking to them, they have to juggle a ton of things every single day, when the heck are they going to create content for themselves, learn how to create content, find the budget to purchase the equipment to learn how to run the equipment to come up with the creative ideas, to create the content. Yeah, maybe they turned to a freelancer, okay. But then now they're managing that person. And it's usually a one off exchange. So every time they need something, they have to go search and vet and reestablish the connection and the brand and hopefully not chase that Freelancer around for too many weeks. Too many revisions, price changes. And then by the time you get the content, you needed it two months ago, yeah, it's already gone. And then the option other option is the traditional route that I worked in, actually as a commercial actress, so it's kind of like I'm working on the other side now. But it's that agency model, where you're paying a really high premium for high production cost and value, usually a longer production cycle, somewhere between six to eight weeks. And again, you get that one campaign. And what we saw going through the pandemic, and everything now, especially is that content isn't just for marketing, it's for all areas of your business, you have to find a way to communicate, tell stories online. And what we're trying to do is bring these two two groups together, who are usually at a disadvantage when it comes to content and bring them together in a relationship on a platform that makes it really easy.
Cory McKane 8:04
Very cool. So you're connecting the like the everyday actress, the everyday like small business owner with professionals that can help them run their business or you're connecting them with that, plus, you're helping them run their business too. So
Abigail Rose Baez 8:19
on one side, we have our supply, which are the creative pros, and at this time, those are photographers, videographers, and audio specialists, actors and models. And they are onboard and embedded into our network. So they go through a process that checks all the boxes, to make sure that their skills match their resume, you can actually edit like an audio clip, you know how to use your cameras, you can work on this efficient timescale. We can also professionalism and the way you carry yourself it's like really, really, really important to us. One the film industry is notorious for a rough around the edges kind of boys club behavior that promotes a lot of unsafe environments for people. And then so yeah, we take we take how you show up really seriously, we once you're on boarded and vetted, you get a whole creative profile, your area of expertise, your equipment, the zip code you want to work in, you can change your availability to the to the second and you get matched to business owners who are local in your area that purchases subscription at blended sense. Oh cool for production credits. Gotcha. And these production credits aren't can be redeemed on a menu full of stuff
Cory McKane 9:38
like a class pass via exactly so you can buy
Abigail Rose Baez 9:41
long form video short film or video Oh, next month, you have an event coming up. Great. I want to redeem my credits to go have a team capture that and then turn out credit content for convenience. I'm in real estate agent building my brand nobody knows who I am. I'd love people to come out and make a video About me, or I got several listings coming up, I want to do a vlog, you know, the list goes on and how you can use this. Yeah. And so the relationship is managed, which is really important, we're de risking that part of production. So instead of those small business owners and freelancers that get matched, communicating, there's a internal person at blended cents called the content producer. And they're the creative liaison. And that role right now is really a mix between the technology that we've built itself and an actual person.
Cory McKane 10:35
I love that that's a really cool business model, especially because like, you know, like, as a as like a founder or like an actress, I'm sure to like you are a small business, I guess, you know, how annoying it can be to like, oh, I have to do this, I have to do that. So if I had one, just recurring subscription. And I'm like, Well, I have to use this. And that's good for your business. So you can just keep creating content and keep it like steady, and you're confident in the product you're getting. So I love that. Two questions. Is it only in Texas? Are you guys like us wide? Or where you guys at right now? Yeah,
Abigail Rose Baez 11:06
well, one of the things that I think you could probably relate to as a startup founder is how much you stay on your marketing strategy on paper, and how much you let it flow. Yeah. And we're really fortunate that we've had a lot of word of mouth and referrals. And that has taken us throughout the country. So our specific focus is on Central Texas and the greater Texas, Houston, Dallas and San Antonio area, in terms of like, where we are intentionally growing, but we're producing content across the country. Okay. We stay out of California, because they have some really confusing contracts.
Cory McKane 11:45
Like the lifts. Yeah,
Abigail Rose Baez 11:47
so we have work done work out there. But primarily, where you can find is heavily on the east coast all the way from Boston to Florida, and then throughout the South.
Cory McKane 11:58
So how do you? So how do you feel about expanding in that sense? Because like, let's say that you expand into let's take, like, do Joanna Yeah, example. So you what if you only have like one Freelancer there, and someone hears about it, like, oh, I want to book like a whole team of photographers. And then they're like, well, there's no one here? Or are they just pushing a button? And then you guys on the back end are scrambling to find those people like what is that process? Like for a new city? Yeah, it's
Abigail Rose Baez 12:24
like a total chicken and egg thing. So one of the things we've come to find is that creative freelancers are really easy
Cory McKane 12:30
to get, oh, yeah, that's not a problem. Okay,
Abigail Rose Baez 12:33
the problem is then making sure that we can vet them and that they can turn out the quality work that we want. So once we get a creative, we really pour into them and stick with them. And where, you know, we really value growth and making sure that that person can grow. But yeah, it's a little bit of customers in that area. We get a call, we get a ping. As of this whole year, it's all done on the platform, which is calls. We're getting lit up. There used to be phone calls, and you'd be like, Why are you calling?
Cory McKane 13:06
Like, oh, wait, yeah, that's my business. Yeah, yeah, exactly.
Abigail Rose Baez 13:09
Well, you know, it could be it's, sometimes it's like, it's Albert and die. So it's like, really all encompassing. Sometimes it's like, where's the line? But no, just kidding. Yeah, it's a customer says, Oh, I have these needs. I want a drone there. I like a photographer. But usually they, they would say one of two things. They say what they want, they don't know how to get it. We provide all that, or they say what they want, but they don't know how to get it. And then I want the drone, but they have no idea why they want that. Oh, gotcha. So I think it's about filling the need in a couple different areas. And then we run those virtually. So the producers are here. And they virtually interact with the creative on the other side.
Cory McKane 13:53
Okay, that's awesome. Yeah. So I was curious. I guess that makes sense. Like there, you could play this go on Google and find like, actually, that's a good question. So when you're in Atlanta, again, we'll take for example, are you just Googling freelancers, and then DMing, all of them being like, hey, we need you for the project, we're gonna vet you or like, where are you? Is there a database for them? Or what? Yeah,
Abigail Rose Baez 14:11
so we use social media. And I stay off of a couple of social media sites to do that, because of the nature of what those sites breed in terms of culture gotcha among creative freelancers. So yeah, we use some traditional sites, a lot of networking. So we always will go to the creative network first and say, Who else do you know, in this area work? And then from there, we'll go, you know, to some sites that are databases and things like that. Gotcha. But eventually, what I hope is that by being a blended sense, creative Pro, it's like having a check name on your mark, you know, a check on your on your name and that when you work with us, when other people see that they go Yeah, you you hit all these?
Cory McKane 15:02
Oh, cool like there are you already verified? Yeah, you're like a verified professional like, that would be a cool really cool like spot to get to for sure that's awesome. Yeah. Um, so what is something that like a company or like a startup that you work with like constantly messes up on when it comes to their content creation like what's a typical like, alright, we're working with these guys and it's like, okay, their Instagram just fucking sucks or like what is their like? Well, we're working on a pipe dream lab, so that could happen all the time. That was a pipe that dropped.
Abigail Rose Baez 15:29
So I have dreams, so it's fine. Yeah.
Cory McKane 15:33
So it wasn't like their Instagram sucks, like they don't know how to use Twitter like, what's a typical like scenario for them?
Abigail Rose Baez 15:39
Well, I think that first people get in their heads a lot. And they believe that they have to have everything a certain way to get started from how they look to how their business should be, to having a background or a podcast studio or every anything like this. Right? When in reality, almost every single business owner has what they need to get started.
Cory McKane 16:03
Well, especially now these phones are really good. Yeah, exactly. So
Abigail Rose Baez 16:06
like I can say that now a couple you know, several years ago, I couldn't even just a few years ago. Yeah, I wouldn't be like yeah, pick up your phone and start creating but I think the the one of the biggest things you can start to do is just start by, there is somebody out there who says this quite a bit but documenting and it's It's
Cory McKane 16:24
Gary Vee quote,
Abigail Rose Baez 16:25
I don't I'm not gonna quote him, but because it's true. And he's not the only person that said it and says it, but you know who Yeah, he has this. It's the philosophy that you already have everything around you that you need to tell stories and be interesting and solve problems. Yeah. So I think the biggest thing is to remind yourself that you just got to start picking up and record is going to suck at first maybe, maybe not, you'll surprise yourself, but unless you just start getting into the practice, it's never going to happen. And then from there, I think it's about say, so you the example you gave me was like, you know, from scratch, oh, we've never we've never gotten started we need to do content. Okay, so just start picking up your phone every day and start to find patterns in what your expertise is. So document yourself going through your morning, getting ready for work, getting your team started, whatever you guys do for lunch and just start to notice where the areas of expertise start to come up for you all day. Why don't you what ways you find yourself adding value in conversations and then you'll start to find that niche of of content that you individually or your business can really hone in on what I we see a lot though, is businesses actually have content it's just not being posted it's not being used. Yeah, this idea of like I don't I don't know what to do with it. Well use it that's what I was looking
Cory McKane 18:01
at the pipe the pipe dream guys, so shout out cannon cannon. The three founders are all out here today. But cannon on his personal Instagram is literally taking videos of them in Atlanta and showing a pipe moving through this tunnel. I thought his personal it was just it was I was like, and then I go Why the fuck is this on your, your company Instagram? And he's like, Oh, no. And I was like, I was like, I would pay to watch this video. Because like, I was like to move this to there. And it's such a it's but his Instagram so funny like to watch they're like journey as they scale. But what was I gonna say? I'm actually jumping to the points on that cuz I was gonna move to business model.
Abigail Rose Baez 18:39
No, I mean, I'm just thinking about like, like, don't get me wrong. This is probably not for me to say, but I don't like social media. That's fair, I don't like it. I get a lot of anxiety about it. I don't like engaging it. I don't. And I'm currently not, I don't know if this is a good thing or a bad thing. But I'm not currently building a personal brand. And that's fine. What you're building, but I'm building my blind. And since I use my social media to stay in touch with my friends and family. And I have some artistic goals that don't feel aligned with me building a personal brand yet, my goals might not ever happen if I don't find a way to build a personal brand because no one's going to rep the work. Unless I do yeah, kind of thing. So it's like, I don't know, it's a weird mind game. If you're out there being like, I don't even know where to start or I hate what I have so far. I think it's take a step back and breathe and look at it from the bigger picture. Because at the end of the day, there's like so many things out there going on that whatever. I'm reminding myself of this right now by saying it whatever selfconscious myths you have. It's all in your head. Nobody else is thinking that about you. Oh yeah, for sure. Yeah, you Just get out of our own way.
Cory McKane 20:01
Well, we have the same kind of like, mindset as far as like a CEO because like for me, like I run a fitness company. So there's days where I don't want to go to the gym and I'm like, you run a fitness company. Like what even though it's a software for like trainers and gyms, it's like, yeah, but like, you should be in shape. Yeah, like, so I keep getting away. They're like, Guys, we need to we need to get back, we need to get back into the gym. So when you are working with a company, what is that process? Like? We already kind of mentioned the beginning, but like, do you have here's two packages? Or is it like, customize your experience here dragging and dropping stuff? Like what is what is the process like, like, business model wise?
Abigail Rose Baez 20:35
Sure. Well, the subscriptions are based off what you think your content needs will be. So kind of like a low medium high volume. So you're, you host a lot of events, you have an entire rebrand you're doing you're rebuilding all of your training materials into videos, whatever it is, you purchase a subscription based off of how many production credits you'll need. And with those credits, you can do anything and everything, you want to just buy a ton of content sweeps, but never actually have the content edited, and just get all the footage yourself cool, you can do that. You want to send us a ton of footage, you don't actually want us to go out there and capture then you don't need the production credits for sweeps. Cool, we'll set you up with that. You want to take content on your phone and set it in for editing. Cool, we can make that happen too. So it's based off of how many credits you want per month. And then from there, you know, we can add on or subtract you can realize you need. I think what the beauty of what we created is the capture doesn't dictate the content. We can see that content, look at what you ordered and say, Okay, well, this is what we're going to turn it into, this is how we'll pull it out. So just because we went we did a four hour sweep for you that that's not a four hour long video that several kinds of short form content, long form content promos, ads, we can go back months later and pull that and mix it in with a little bit of the month, and turn out new stuff, not even never needing to capture new things. So our philosophy is definitely around the recap capture a lot on purpose. It's a very intentional process, the capture itself, the sweep is an entire experience in and of itself. It's a product. And then from there, yeah, you have a lot of leverage on how you want to use your credits.
Cory McKane 22:42
So do you guys make like a social calendar for these people? Or are you like, here's your content, like figure it out? Like what is the process? Because I saw when I went to your website yesterday, there was a pop up that said, like help, here's a blog to your social calendar or something like that, like a guide or something like that.
Abigail Rose Baez 22:56
Yeah, we provide resources for how to best use your content and best practices, resources, and our content producers, our production experts that we train in marketing. So they're able to kind of navigate that, but we are not a social media marketing like HootSuite. No. And the problem with those we work great. Coupled with those technology, software's or even your content scheduler person? Because that's the problem. What are you going to plug into those calendars if you don't have any way of actually capturing it? Exactly. And editing it? So
Cory McKane 23:35
So what's your development loop team look like? Are you guys had like a full team overseas? You have like a couple of developers here in the US, like, how are you guys doing that?
Abigail Rose Baez 23:42
So there's a model that we look at a lot when we're describing our company and also trying to figure out where to prioritize our energy. Yeah, we look a lot at Stitch Fix.
Cory McKane 23:53
Okay, so Stitch Fix
Abigail Rose Baez 23:55
is the wardrobe, you know, the dressing company, okay? Basically, you're like, oh, I don't know how to dress myself. Here's my style and my sizes, okay? Stylists would curate closets for you, and you get a monthly box of clothes. Well, when Stitch Fix first launched it, it was all stylists like you were physically interacting with people who were collecting the data on you. They were physically scrubbing that data pulling from inventory, curating this box and handing it to you. If you didn't like it, you talk to the you know, is all human human touch, touch, touch. And then as Stitch Fix grew, that person went away less and less and less and less, and the technology took over more and more. And then the premium option was now to work with a person and so naturally as fixed fixed, did that and raised funds. Obviously, as the technology became the room, the more robust service centric thing. You know, they had to pour them More technology resources, UX, UI engineering, security and all that. So that's kind of where we're at. We started with like an Excel spreadsheet, we didn't have any technology. We are a bootstrapped company that only launched because somebody saw us going, you don't need to wait to do this, you have a service, you can get started today. And so that's the journey we've been on, became really heavily in the customer service and production resources. So we have a lot of personnel, like that. And then as we're growing, we definitely see the content producer. Kind of, I don't want to call them dissolving, especially if any of them are listening. I love you guys. You're all incredibly talented people, but they'll they're a lot of the button pushing that they do now will go away. And there'll be more of a
Cory McKane 25:50
moderator kind of moderator and like a
Abigail Rose Baez 25:54
consultant kind of advising, providing creative ideas, helping this thing come to life versus very much a producer, the technology team will do more producing, though the one area that I don't ever see us taking personnel away from is actually our editing team. And I think we'll support them probably as software's improve with that, but the physical element of someone taking your content, knowing your brand, knowing your why and where you're trying to go and turning that into something just has this organic touch on it. Yeah, we find is really vital. So we run our editors, like a dev shop actually, on Sprint's they're all assign points in relation to the kind of asset they're working on how long it's going to take them. And so we kind of pull the triggers on their productivity
Cory McKane 26:51
that way, kind of leads to my next question. So like, because you're definitely drawing a line, I think, as founders, like we will I do this personally and people I've interviewed Do you constantly like well, I guess we could do that, too. And so you always are doing that. So you've drawn a line in that sense. And so my other question is, what earlier you mentioned design? Do you guys have UX UI designers? And then I'm like, if you do have that, like, are you eventually going to have like software engineers, and you just do everything for these people? Or like, where do you draw the line out with that
Abigail Rose Baez 27:20
in your earnest ness to start your company and be successful and satisfy your customers? You'll say yes to everything. So at first, we were doing in addition to photo, video, and audio, we were also doing graphics and copywriting. And those two just proved copywriting and graphics, just a really difficult production cycle. When we didn't have the bandwidth to quality control the copywriters we just didn't have the expertise. There's
Cory McKane 27:47
so many words, that's just like a right. Yeah. And there's so many kinds of copywriting.
Abigail Rose Baez 27:51
And the second was the graphics. It was really hard to take that process of somebody being like, design me a logo is a two step process. Yeah. With our video content we have you know, you get your you approve your what you've ordered, you see the pre treatment is what it's called, right like you see the the plan, you show up on the day. And then you get your first checkpoint for assets. Gotcha. And then your second one, and if you want anything after that, you have to pay for revisions. Cool. So, yeah, we quickly learned that like actually saying no, leads us closer to product market fit. Yeah, for sure. And helps us provide a better service because we know what we do, and we don't and I think at this point, we trust ourselves enough that what we do provide alone is really valuable, for sure. And that we are more than happy to work with your social media manager, perhaps someday we'll have a network that we can refer perhaps it's even a role that we are able to, to have in our network. But yeah, at this time. I don't I don't want to, we could have an integration to like that could be something we do. So your content gets delivered on the platform, ready to publish, meaning it's been tagged, it's exported in the proper files, depending on where it's intended to go. So we could easily build in or add in it, you know, scheduling API or something like that.
Cory McKane 29:21
Yeah, absolutely. You can see that being annoying because like, yeah, when you edit a video, these people probably never seen like that good of a video editor. So they're like, This is amazing. Approve, whereas like a logo could take like 100 steps. So yeah, I can see that being annoying. Do you see any other see we have model actor, videographer photographer? Like do you see any other roles in the future that can be a part of your business model.
Abigail Rose Baez 29:44
So we added one in the last year and a half. Since we really were able to get back on set a whole pandemic where that was so that's what this podcast is about. But out of that we learned a lot of things. And one of them is something I'm really passionate about. And I coined it as the term safe sets. So I can't count on my fingers, the number of times I booked a gig, somewhere sketchy, where I walked in, and I was the only other person there, just me and the creative, professional, nice. Doesn't feel so good. Yeah. And so safe sets means you're never going to be alone, you're never gonna have to be alone with the customer navigating that you're never going to walk into a venue that you have to find the exit by yourself. And so we introduced it, and also the customers and creatives need somebody to be communicating between them. And so the field producer, no matter what kind of sweep you've ordered, there will be a field producer on it. And that's one of the ways that when we're producing content, too, I had said, we have them virtual, but in other states during the pandemic, they were virtual. But right now, what we're working on is hiring field producers in those states that are producing a lot of content and right now. Yeah, so nobody ever has to navigate an awkward Hello, or goodbye or an unwanted thing or has, you know, it's really helpful for a creative to have an extra set of eyes somewhere or try there on the camera or the audio or the door, you know? So
Cory McKane 31:19
what roles are you guys looking for right now? Like, if someone's watching this, they're like, Oh, I love doing this. Like, what should you be looking out for?
Abigail Rose Baez 31:26
We're hiring for editors. I wouldn't say we're actively hiring right now. But like, we're are welcome. Love to see it. Where? Our creative if you got the stuff, let me go back. Yeah. We are growing our creative network, especially non identifying males out there behind the camera. We have more of you, in our network. And then technology, like we're preparing to do a pretty big tech hire. Designer, engineer.
Cory McKane 32:05
Yeah. Have you guys have you guys like my next question? How do you guys raised or where, like, Where were you at
Abigail Rose Baez 32:09
with that? So we're in. I feel like we've been closing our seed round all year for eternity. And that's just the nature of it. But that's how far we've gotten. So we did a friends and family like angel investment round to get us started off than we did a I guess you could call it a precede. I know there's all these technical
Cory McKane 32:33
literally color for you on Yeah, exactly. It's made up. Yeah,
Abigail Rose Baez 32:36
I'm like, This is literally a play. I'm an actor. And this is 100%. A boy. Um, we did a round on Republic dot code, how'd that go, which went great. It was awesome. It was a really good way for my friends and family who felt like they wanted to contribute. But a friends and family round isn't appropriate enough for them either one to have the conversation, you don't have 30, grand, anything like that. So it was really cool. And it's gave us a great opportunity to get brand awareness out there. As well as expand our reach. Yeah, and we're closing that seed round up right now. Awesome. Preparing for what we hope is a 2023 series a
Cory McKane 33:19
venue or whatever you want to call it. Yeah, like,
Abigail Rose Baez 33:23
more money. It's not it's not even that to me, when I think about those. They're so arbitrary for me to think about. And I definitely more visualize what I want the company to feel like at that point. Yeah. Series 18. This for us, actually, this is how we feel. This is who's involved. This is what we're doing. This is where we're at. Versus like, all that money.
Cory McKane 33:45
Because I can have 10 million in the bank tomorrow. And I'm still sitting in my apartment like, okay, what are we doing with this? Yeah, where are we going to be? Exactly, yeah. So it's for sure that no, yeah, I totally get what you're saying. But I think the money gives you the confidence for sure, though. Yeah, I mean, a lot of confidence.
Abigail Rose Baez 34:00
For sure. Confidence. And I could probably go on and on about this. I've seen slots of startups start up. My perspective, has been unique as a girlfriend, fiance and wife. I'm just somebody involved in lots of startups. And there's definitely a difference of when you're starting a company with a lot of security. It has a totally different it puts you in a different mindset. Your risks are different and you can almost be riskier, because you know, you can, you'll be okay. Yeah, exactly. You know, you know, you can make just certain kinds of decisions. So, yeah, the Series A, to me speaks to a level of excellence that Albert and I are bringing to the company every day cool as people first
Cory McKane 34:54
Gotcha. Very cool. Very cool. So what do you what do you like about being Not only a founder in Austin but also like for your company specifically like is this a good hub for you guys to be headquartered in?
Abigail Rose Baez 35:07
Absolutely. Yeah, I don't think we could have started this anywhere else.
Cory McKane 35:10
You go I'm just gonna check Nick this
Abigail Rose Baez 35:14
Yeah, I don't think we could have started this anywhere else like Austin is was the place for us. It gave us one the warmth and openness when we first got here warmth for sure. Yeah, yeah. It's literally a literal warmth.
Cory McKane 35:25
I didn't need the warmth.
Abigail Rose Baez 35:28
I didn't I don't even worry. I'm a snowbird but it's a lot. snow bunny not snowbirds. snowbirds are the people who fly to Florida to escape. That's
Cory McKane 35:36
Abigail Rose Baez 35:37
I'm a snow bunny. I like to be in the snow but no birds of this room right now. I'll tell you what. We are. We are powder people. Nice. Nice to see that powder. People
Cory McKane 35:46
have recently seen like, be a cokehead.
Abigail Rose Baez 35:48
I've recovered from my college ways. Ya know, Austin's like being is been kind of one of these places where it's like, oh, let me share my contact. Let me share my network. Let me help you. Let me you know where i, where i moved from. It's not like that. You is a lot more gatekeeping I'm originally from. I moved from New York City.
Cory McKane 36:12
Oh, gosh. Okay. Yes. That's yeah, I think I moved from LA and I my mind New York's probably way tougher. As far as like relationships, for sure.
Abigail Rose Baez 36:19
Yeah, I think the weather has a lot to do with it. Cold, cold, you know? Yeah. But the Austin really married the creativity and technology really well. And those are the two pillars of our company. Cool. So that with Yeah, it's a it's a lifestyle that makes it kind of easy to be an entrepreneur.
Cory McKane 36:44
Yeah, absolutely. It's fun. It's fun. It's like if I was an entrepreneur here, I'd feel like a little left out. Yeah, I feel like I mean, no offense to every friend I have here that works at a business but like, I don't know, I just feel like everyone here is like a CEO or like, at least like part of a startup in some sense. Doing something. Some sort of blended sense. They are you know, like it should have been an actor. What are you guys doing for it? I'll try make this question long. So you can drink that? What are you guys doing for for like growth methods? Are you hosting events? Are you just like doing a bunch of Facebook ads? Like what are you guys doing to like, expand? Not only? We already mentioned, you don't really do the freelancers. What are you doing to expand the the business like the small business owner side?
Abigail Rose Baez 37:27
Yeah, well, up until this point, it's been pretty much organic. So everything you can do without spending money on content, marketing, events, getting sponsorship for you know, those events, throwing that hosting podcast, creating content, building partnerships with other publications that give us access to our target customer. Cool. So that's what we've been doing up to this point. But to meet our goals for next year. And really, what we're trying to do here, we're going to have to put in a bit more of an intentional ad, you know, strategy. Email marketing, jargon.
Cory McKane 38:13
I feel like I've read every single book on email marketing, and then I go and do it. I just hate it.
Abigail Rose Baez 38:18
Yeah, it's not my realm. It's not my realm. I'm not a marketer. I'm not
Cory McKane 38:23
pushy. I don't like be I don't like the the, the idea of annoying someone if they don't like the message is not worth the person that did like it and converts. Yeah.
Abigail Rose Baez 38:34
I mean, it's a lot of time to go into the testing. And so you know, I think for us, we looked at what we had naturally, okay, we got cameras, people, we can make content, put up content for free on these websites that are for free. And through that that's how we've driven almost all of our business
Cory McKane 38:54
so cool. I use this like big on tick tock or like, what does that mean? Like you're
Abigail Rose Baez 38:57
like, on on Instagram and YouTube and LinkedIn, and making sure that every single job that we get to go do that? We're bringing our a game and just really making sure that we leave a lasting impression that gets somebody excited to share who we are in case they hear. Oh, I need photo and video. You know, the term No, no.
Cory McKane 39:23
Oh, the marketplace relies on network effect. Oh, yeah. There you go. Yeah. And which is just so hard to just, it's, it's really hard. You're like, you'll see people that it happens to and you're like, what,
Abigail Rose Baez 39:37
exactly. And so the biggest thing that actually this year taught me out of anything is beyond I'm building a technology company that series A and I wanted to get bought and fancy fancy schmancy pants. Yeah, no, I want to I want to have a good business. I want to run a good business. At the end of the day. I want to run a good business. I want us to look at each other and feel proud what we've done for our Employees and feel that integrity that comes from like showing up and doing a good business. So if we're worried about network mark, the network effect and like, we're going to be doing all the things wrong to actually run a good business, because that would be the result of actually running a good business. So if we just focus on what we can do today, to positively impact our team, show up for our customers, bring the best quality that we can today. And then we'll do that again tomorrow. And the next day, hopefully, we'll get a network effect. But I can't knock the community I don't care if the network or whatever it is, the community that of business owners and creatives that have been already built, and the exceptional people within that it blows my mind that we've been been able to even get that far.
Cory McKane 40:56
That's awesome. In going back to the events, you guys host like when you guys are hosting an event? Are you just like running out like a bar and inviting people that have small businesses? Or what do you what is you guys doing with those?
Abigail Rose Baez 41:07
As a no, no, we always try to give them really purposeful intention. So whether it's you're coming and you're hearing this, a speaker or a fireside chat, and you're getting a headshot and an opportunity to get on camera and say something, we would throw creative jams, which is we give you access to a location you'd otherwise not have access to, to bring your camera to. And we'll bring models and we'll just have some fun.
Cory McKane 41:32
Oh, very cool. Like it like a cool like, like, part of like, like geography or what, like
Abigail Rose Baez 41:39
musicians get together and jam out? Like why can't creative people with cameras get really weird about free work as you should anyone anyone who serves creatively should always concern themselves about being taken advantage of for free work. But the idea of like in the spirit of, hey, we're gonna come together, we're gonna use this time to walk away with something that we made versus all we just walked away. And that was oh, that was a fun conversation. Yeah, no, we walked away. And I actually have some stuff to post on my
Cory McKane 42:08
school. A little photographer meetup kind of. Yeah, that's cool. Yeah. Okay. That's fun. I mean, I am, I've tried to do the same. I haven't tried. I host so many events, obviously, as you know, like in the tech space, like, for fitness. I'm just like, I'm trying to think I mean, I'm still like alcohol focus on my events. I was like, What are we going to, I don't know, they're gonna go work out together.
Abigail Rose Baez 42:29
I, so a couple years ago, before blended science, I created something called Splash. And it was my first attempt at pairing creativity and what I was doing at the time, which was fitness instruction, and it wasn't the fitness instruction that I was good at it was the group facilitation. So I could, I was really good at making a group of people do something with a start, middle, and end. So I had people with paint brushes on their arms and buckets of paint. And it was a splatter dance. Oh, that's where you're working out. And you were painting at the same time. So after workout, you looked down, and you actually had a canvas that you could walk away with? Oh, that's really cool, right. And so I think it's about taking the elements that make what you do really unique, and having no shame at formulating something around those elements. And whether it's one person or 50 people, odds are someone out there is going to see it and identify with it and want to be a part of it. So when I when I think of events, like I mean, there's so many events now. So to get somebody, it's you got to do something cool, you got it out of the box, and odd and weird, and I'm only going to attend an event. If I walk away, not just with like, you know, I really need to make an impression on me. So I like participating. I like doing things I like getting that's the theater kid in me I like getting people uncomfortable together. Sweaty, doing art or taking pictures or business owners, you know, we're about to roll out an entire series of events where we're helping business owners get through that fear of being on camera and the event will then help them with that not only in person coaching but then they'll walk away with actual assets that they'll make on the day.
Cory McKane 44:26
Gotcha. Very cool. Being a business owners if you were I don't know what your husband's specialty specialties are as a founder, but if you were a solo founder and started a business today, what would you be really good at what would you be really bad at? Oh, I wrote that one of the panelists pretty
Abigail Rose Baez 44:44
good. Oh, that's really good. I would be really good add.
Cory McKane 44:51
I guess what are you really using what I already
Abigail Rose Baez 44:53
have. So that could be everything from relationships, resources. Some materials I'm really good at taking a look around the room and like problem solving with what's right there. I'm not very good at rooms. I've never done one what I know I would be a whiz.
Cory McKane 45:12
Oh no, you'd look at you'd go to one every week if you didn't want you would love. I love escape rooms. I don't like I've always
Abigail Rose Baez 45:16
wanted to do them that I look for and I've never done them. Yeah, no. Okay. Okay, before this episode goes
Cory McKane 45:21
live. She's gonna do it.
Abigail Rose Baez 45:23
Because I am also a very much a I liked to deleting directing.
Cory McKane 45:31
You would run it escape. Okay, sure. Although your first time you think everything's a fucking? And you're just like this guy? Yes. And then if you've done like, 10 times, you're like, you go do that. I'm gonna open this door really quick. So anyway, sorry, you'd love it.
Abigail Rose Baez 45:46
Exactly. So that idea of like, getting the wrong figure it out. I'm, that's my I'm gonna invite me to want
Cory McKane 45:55
to like to steal.
Abigail Rose Baez 45:56
I'm serious. There's no escape room escape. I'm really bad at asking for resources asking for help
Cory McKane 46:05
getting help. You're bad at asking or you're bad at knowing what you need to ask for. Because I'm bad at the latter. Well,
Abigail Rose Baez 46:09
I think I'm more in tune with knowing what I need to ask for now. I think that's like an ongoing thing I'm actually working on just like, trying to track exactly. But I get really tense and really frozen up when I have to ask for help.
Cory McKane 46:24
Gotcha. Because you don't want to waste their time or like you just like was the
Abigail Rose Baez 46:28
I don't want to hear that. I don't want to hear no, that's fair. So the fear of hearing a negative response. Makes me really avoidant of it. And
Cory McKane 46:38
yeah, I hate hearing that too. Yeah. I think as a guy, you get rejected so often that like, bars and stuff, you're just like, what's up? Okay, cool. Yeah. Okay,
Abigail Rose Baez 46:46
nevermind. Well, yeah, it's like, I don't mind putting myself as an actor. I had to learn that it's like, you shouldn't get yourself out there and say no, but um, so yeah, it's just not going out. Say no, it's also being bold enough. And brazen enough to to ask someone, I don't know I, I'm working through a lot of perceptions right now about myself, that I've learned that I'm really excited to unlearn that have stunted my growth and those beliefs that like no one wants to hear from me. No, they don't fit. Even if they had what I need. They wouldn't be interested in helping me of all people. Okay.
Cory McKane 47:29
Wait, so is your is your husband and the like Brandon one? Yeah. He's
Abigail Rose Baez 47:33
like the resource. He's like, okay, it's 6am. Here's the problem. Here's the solution. This is where we need to get to go find the solution. And he'll go out there versus I'm, it's 6am. Here's the problem. Look around. What do I have already? Oh, to help solve that?
Cory McKane 47:50
Well, gotcha. Yeah, that takes out. Yeah, I think I kind of rotate. And then I'm like, I shouldn't actually be here. I should. It was back where I was
Abigail Rose Baez 47:59
yours. Because you're a solo founder. Yeah. Well, I
Cory McKane 48:02
have a really incredible dev team in western Ukraine. They're still surviving. They're doing great. So I have them. So I'm a solo founder. But in that, like, if I didn't have that team that had them for four years, like if they weren't a part of my life, like, I wouldn't be here. So actually, five, five years. Yeah. So yeah, but anything non technical I have to handle so it's like, aka like most of the business, so yeah, I'm definitely still we're. So my problem isn't asking is I'm always like, Hey, can you help me with this, like, blah, blah, blah. But my problem is like, Okay, what am I doing that like could be done by someone else? And then figuring out those things to like, make sure I have more time to do like podcasts.
Abigail Rose Baez 48:43
Yeah, I can relate to that. Another thing I think that holds me back from asking for help is feeling like I don't want to burden you I don't want to take up too much of your time. But yeah, I'm always very pleasantly surprised every time I do speak up. And my mother will always say squeaky wheel gets the grease and I'm still trying to figure that one out. Because yeah, I don't know. I'm like dealing with like a lot of like, shame of I been proud of what I've accomplished so far. So I'm ready to kick that in the butt because sort of mentality that serves success.
Cory McKane 49:24
The better you get, the worse you're gonna feel, ya know? So do you guys have this isn't a good transition at all? I'm just gonna It's my next question. So do you guys have competition or is it like is it like, like, there's a photographer competition like what is the competition like?
Abigail Rose Baez 49:41
We have competition in the sense that when we first got started, there's the idea that content services need to be better, right. So we we have tertiary competitors in the Freelancer in Upwork Yeah, in a Fiverr, right.
Cory McKane 50:03
So Upwork is more of like a complement to you guys. I feel like it's I feel like I wouldn't hire a photographer author, but I would hire a graphic designer. Yeah, that would be great. Yeah. So
Abigail Rose Baez 50:14
Yeah. Someone on there who provides the services of taking what we make for you and using it. Exactly. Yeah. Marketer, your social media manager,
Cory McKane 50:22
you guys are like the in person. Upwork, basically. Oh,
Abigail Rose Baez 50:26
that's a cool way. I like that. Yeah. So they're managed mark. Open marketplaces were managed. So Oh, sure. Anyway, go on their make their account up. To get into our marketplace, you actually have to have
Cory McKane 50:44
passed a series of tests of skills, skills,
Abigail Rose Baez 50:47
Cory McKane 50:48
Picturing like a sport
Abigail Rose Baez 50:50
to be a customer, this is different. And this is a branding. Difference differentiation is a client is if you can be equally selective as if we were just a production company or an agency or anything like that, we would also be selecting our clients just as much as they're seeking us out. Gotcha. Whereas a customer, to me, as anyone who has the resources and can go sign up on our platform can be a customer. So it's not for us to say what's good or bad, or judge how somebody is on camera or anything like that. It's we go in there we are the most professional we can be we capture what we capture, and we turn out the highest quality, creative content based off of that. Nice. I don't know where I was going with that.
Cory McKane 51:43
So so two last questions here. One is, let's start with the first one, what is like a day in the life for you? What do you do today? There we go.
Abigail Rose Baez 51:52
A day in the life for me, centers at this point in time, around an almost two year old juggling two babies. So I love to be waking up before him. I don't at this time, we wake up together. Because he's a two year old. And I'm still very connected to him. Still a nursing mother. So we wake up together, we do breakfast, we're trying to put in a really nice morning routine, away from screens and things like that give ourselves the opportunity to connect with what's important. We get outside and get movement and son right away in the morning. And then right now we're in a season without childcare. So it looks like taking a phone call while I push the stroller. rescheduling the meeting so that it hits during nap time, nice. All of those kinds of things. And because it's Albert and I running this thing together, and we share a child what I've had to come to terms with because my own choice to I mean, there's a lot of circumstances. We are startup founders. So I'm not getting a budget from a company to go get daycare. But I also really want to be present for my son's life.
Cory McKane 53:19
Alright, so where do you see yourself in the next this time next year?
Abigail Rose Baez 53:23
Me or blended sense,
Cory McKane 53:25
but it sounds Sorry? Yeah.
Abigail Rose Baez 53:26
Where do I see blend itself? Blend? There. That's a good that's
Cory McKane 53:31
a good pivot right there.
Abigail Rose Baez 53:33
How has entrepreneurship been so far? Well, my company's name and myself are literally synonymous. In one year, I see blended sense being a nationally recognized brand. And I see myself as a founder feeling excited and stable.
Cory McKane 54:05
Very good. Yeah.
Abigail Rose Baez 54:09
I'd like to think that, especially as we push through the spring, we'll be at the four year mark five years if you consider the research gear that we did prior. But I like to think that we're going to be confident in this identity of who we are as a company. The services and the technology providing starting to gather, you know, gain attention being like a standard. And what you should have in your repertoire as business owner or a creative freelancer, if you're not plugged in to blended sense, if you're working at a certain kind of level. Yeah, I don't know. That's a huge growth. It's basically too early. To me. 1212 months from now we're looking at more like a 12 to 14 month period. direction for a Series A so let's think about this time next year we're starting to poised ourselves for a significant but I'm like a big, something's happening. Something's happening. We're shifting into a new realm where we're totally shedding our babies startup skin. We are no longer truly a startup. We are your company. A company is
Cory McKane 55:25
nice. There we go. Yes. And that's why we strive
Abigail Rose Baez 55:31
yours. Thank you for having me
Cory McKane 55:33
much for coming on here. All right. All right. So it was incredible having you and shout out to kill if I went to the grapefruit drink is great.
Abigail Rose Baez 55:47
I really loved that lovely refreshing, crispy beverage to sip on. And thank you for the opportunity to reflect on what we got going on. So
Cory McKane 56:00
yeah, you guys are crushing it can't wait to see what we'll have this interview again in two years. You're gonna be bam. All right.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai